DMR to roll-out legalisation of artisanal mining throughout SA

Illegal miners inside a mine security fence.
SOUTH Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) is to roll out the legalisation of artisanal mining activities beginning with an agreement between informal miners working on the fringers of Kimberley’s diamond fields in the country’s Northern Cape province.
South African mines minister, Gwede Mantashe, said that “… where it was safe to do so”, and excluding any artisanal activities on the country’s underground operations, the DMR planned to make mining permits available where miners can apply for properties from as little has five hectares.
“We have been able to take a lot of miners through an induction process,” he said, adding that another area where artisanal mining could be formalised would be near the property of certain chrome mines which operate in a number of regions including the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.
“In the Limpopo province, in Burgersfort area, Samancor [Chrome] holds a whole range of mining assets,” said Mantashe. “We have held meetings with them [the company] and zama-zamas and we will use Kimberley as the benchmark. There are also areas in KwaZulu-Natal – mostly in the coal sector – and in Mpumalanga province. I can’t say what the scale of artisanal mining is, but they keep popping up,” he said.


  1. And this, my friend, is when things start to get really interesting. As they say, “Worlds colliding”😆😆😆

    • Yes. How is this going to work out?

      At the press conference, I asked how the DMR would be able to define illegal vs. artisanal. The reply was rather sniffy in that Mantashe said illegal activities were clear to see because of the stealing and sale of metals to outside syndicates.

      Fair enough.

      But given the DMR’s skills and resources shortage – the R1.9bn budget allowed to the DMR for this year has already been described by Mantashe as insufficient – how is it going to implement etc etc …?

      Thoughts anyone?

  2. He will need to amend NEMA as well. Currently mining permits also need to comply with NEMA. That has made applications very expensive. Never forget that NEMA was written by consultants for consultants. DMR really need to relook environmental legislation. Apart from corruption and mining charter issues that is one of the biggest challenges that stops investment

    • Yep.

      And on this point. Artisanal miners at Petra/Ekapa have already been granted mining permits. Have they complied with NEMA or does the compliance fall under the purview of the companies? There are plans to do the same at Samancor. I’m waiting on Anglo for its reply.

      • Samancor will not roll over and allow for mining permits within their mining area. It will create a MHS Disaster for them. How would access be controlled. Who in the community will get the MP and what about the others.
        Small scale diamond miners are a known factor in the NC. The DMR has been issuing permits for years. Except for environmental damages it can be controlled to some extent. Chrome on the other hand is a new issue. The drive behind illegal mining is coming from criminal consortiums.

      • Hi Pete – This related to Samancor Chrome I subsequently understand. I have amended the story after speaking with Anglo and South32.
        I am following this issue up, however. I think the Chamber needs the grasp the nettle as I consider this a major issue if it’s truly rolled out. Even news of it will make for a more proactive artisanal sector which companies will have to deal with – like it or not.

      • Hi David
        I agree SSM is here to stay.
        Maybe the COM and DMR must adopt an approach to address this in the Charter and SLP commitments. Instead of committing to save projects such as building of schools, which incidentally is gov’s responsibility, mining companies should perhaps be forced to assist SSM companies. With the funds available for SLP projects, can you imagine how many SSM operations can be started annually. At least this will be within the comfort zone of miners. I believe most SLP projects fail because miners do not know how to oversee start up businesses. At least they know how to mine… some at least.

  3. Pete – your are right about NEMA and the implications of this act – the cost of the environmental aspect of the prospecting right application is ridiculous. This must be revised.
    NEMA assumes that earths surtace is a perfect pristine environment which is it not.
    AS for the corruption……. , know of a situation of the delay in granting a PR … R15000 would allow the granting within two weeks

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